Book Review #2, Cider – Making, Using, & Enjoying Sweet & Hard Cider

Part two of four of interesting notes from cider-related books I obtained from my local library (Part 1 is available here).  This time around is Cider – Making, Using, & Enjoying Sweet & Hard Cider (Annie Proulx & Lew Nichols, 3rd edition, published in 2003).  Similarly to The New Cider Maker’s Handbook, the majority of this book has a cidermaking focus.  Paperback priced at $10.75 on Amazon.  From my perusal, The New Cider Maker’s Handbook seems to be a better choice over this one, mostly as it is more thorough and has an easier to read layout.  Additionally, hard cider has really evolved in the U.S. since 2003!

making using enjoying cider

Chapters:

Cidermaking: What You Need and How to Do It
Cidermaking, Step by Step
Equipment and Materials: How to Use Them
Cider Disorders

Making Different Cider Varieties
Basic Still Blended Cider from North American Varieties
Naturally Sparkling and Champagne Ciders
Old-Fashioned New England Cider
French Cider
Cider in a Hurry!

Apples for Cider
The Apple – Body and Soul
Good Cider Apples
European Cider Apples
Canadian Apples
North American Astringents
North American Cultivars Used in Making Cider

The Home Cider Orchard
The Orchard – from Dream to Reality
Climate and Weather
Sizing up the Site
Soil
Staking Out Your Orchard’s Claim
Planting
Orchard Care
Diseases, Insects, and Wildlife
The Harvest
Developing Your Own Cider Apple Trees

Beyond Cider:  Vinegars, Brandy, Tasting, and Cooking
How to Make Vinegar
Aromatic and Herb Vinegars
Applejack and Apple Brandy
Apple Brandy
Cider for Tasting, Drinking, and Cooking
Cider to Drink and in the Kitchen

Cider and the Law
U.S. and Federal Law and Regulations
Canada

Appendix: Making Your Own Equipment
Plans
Materials
Ingenuity
Kits
Websites

What I Found Interesting:

  • Twelve steps of cidermaking:  harvest, “sweating”, washing, grinding, pressing, blending, testing, fermentation, racking off, filtering or fining, bottling, and storage.
  • Popular proportions for juices are neutral base (30-60%), tart (10-20%), aromatic (10-20%), and astringent (5-20%).
  • Tannins are complex phenolics which add a slight bitter tang and astringency to cider, and give the finest ciders their flavor and personality.  They do not add acidity to the juice, as does malic, tartaric, or citric acids.  Dessert apples have about one-fifth the tannins of European cider apples.
  • The single most important step in cidermaking is acquiring fine-flavored, well-ripened apples with good levels of acid and tannin.
  • A standard apple tree will produce about ten bushels of apples and has a lifespan of around a hundred years.  (there are also semidwarf and dwarf trees)
    • One bushel of apples weighs about 45 pounds, and will yield 2-3 gallons of cider.
  • Tulip-shaped clear wine glasses are recommended to hold the cider bouquet at the lip of the glass.
  • The sweeter the cider the colder it should be served.  Drier cider may be served at room temperature.
  • Describing scents, flavors, and tastes is a difficult job, since they are perceived differently by people, linked to obscure personal memories, and to different culturally acquired food habits.
  • Cider color varies based on both the apple varieties and the way it was made.
  • For a cider tasting, go from dry to sweet, young to old, and lighter to heavier alcohol content.
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